[December News] news from around the pest control industry

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December 11, 2003

COMPANIES RECOVER FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

SAN DIEGO — Pest control operators in Southern California are breathing easier now that the catastrophic wildfires that spread throughout the region in late October are history. When the final flame was doused, the fires had burned more than 743,000 acres, caused 22 deaths and destroyed more than 3,570 homes.

The fires left a lasting impression among Southern California pest management professionals.

"I first grasped how big the problem was on Sunday morning (Oct. 26) when I walked out of my home and saw ash on the walkway and driveway and I live a good 15 miles from the fires," said Jamie Ogle, president of San Diego-based Lloyd Pest Control. "It’s been horrific to witness so much damage, to see how close this was to our homes, and to see the effects it had on the community."

Another hard-hit area was Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., where Antimite Termite & Pest Control’s corporate headquarters is located. According to Rick Swope, vice president of Antimite, the fires came within a half-mile of the corporate office.

"We also had to shut three of our branches down," Swope said. "The smoke was so bad and the fires were so close we had to close branches down three different days. That was the major effect on our business."

On the evening of Sunday, Oct. 26, Lloyd Pest Control made the decision to shut down operations in San Diego County on Monday, Oct. 27, after San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy urged people to stay off the roads. (All Lloyd employees were paid for that day off.)

"We normally have 150 or so trucks on the road so we wanted to do our part to keep the roads clear, but more importantly we were concerned about the safety of our employees," Ogle said.

The challenge for Lloyd Pest Control, and for other businesses, was communication. In addition to informing everyone that the office was closed, Lloyd branch managers showed up at all of the offices to spread the message that the office was closed to those who could not be contacted by phone, and thus might have shown up for work. Incidentally, Ogle is in the process of formalizing a crisis communication plan, which was initiated by 9-11, and he used some of its ideas to help the company deal with the wildfires.

Bryan Houtchens, vice president of Team Too Termite & Pest Control, Corona, Calif., also stressed the importance of having a good communication plan. One of his company’s technicians who was servicing a route in Santa Clarita, Calif., got trapped behind the fire lines and was stuck in a four-hour traffic jam. It took the technician six-and-a-half hours to make it back to the office.

"That area was fine in the morning when he went out," Houtchens said. "The winds changed while he was out and he couldn’t get back to the office. He called the office and we studied the maps and we sent him back north, towards the ocean, to get him out of there."

When Lloyd technicians returned to work Tuesday, Oct. 28, many found dual purposes for their respirators. In addition to being used for pest control, respirators were worn by technicians in some areas outdoors because air quality was so poor.

Lloyd Pest Control also helped the community by allowing its El Cajon, Calif., office to be opened on Sunday, Oct. 26, as a relief spot where people who were evacuated could obtain ice and water and have a safe place to stay.

Although it will take time for Lloyd Pest Control to tally the business cost, Ogle says the company is identifying residential customers affected by the fires in order to send them a letter informing them that there service was made inactive and that no payments were due. Lloyd also made a donation of about $3,000 to the Red Cross’s disaster relief efforts.

BAYER RESTRUCTURES, PEST CONTROL MARKET MINIMALLY AFFECTED, BURT SAYS


FRANKFURT, GERMANY — In an effort to concentrate on its pharmaceutical and consumer health-care brands, as well as agriculture products and some remaining specialty chemicals, Bayer announced in November that it would spin off most of its chemical businesses.

Bayer Chemicals is to be combined with certain parts of the polymers business in a new company with the provisional name "NewCo." The aim for the company is to be listed on the stock market under a new name by early 2005 at the latest. NewCo will have sales of about $6.4 billion (U.S.) per year and employ 20,000 people in 20 countries, according to Bayer.

Following the reorganization, Bayer will have three operating subgroups — Bayer HealthCare, Bayer CropScience and Bayer Material-Science. Bayer CropScience business units include Bayer Environmental Science, which manufactures insecticides for the structural pest control market, as well as the turf and ornamentals field. Bayer will be left with 96,000 workers and the company says no jobs will be lost in the restructuring. It is already halfway through a three-year program to drop 15,000 jobs.

Bayer Environmental Science Vice President of Professional Pest Management Steve Burt told PCT magazine that the split will have a positive impact on the professional pest management industry. "This will mean that Bayer will be more focused on its core businesses of health care, animal health, crop protection and environmental science," he says.

Bayer CEO Werner Wenning said that "both Bayer and NewCo will benefit from the split because a stock market listing will be highly attractive for both shareholders and employees."

UAP TIMBERLAND,

UHS AND YORK dISTRIBUTORS INCLUDED IN RECENT SALE OF UAP

GREELEY, COLO. — On Oct. 30, ConAgra Foods Inc. announced it had reached an agreement to sell United Agri Products (UAP), its U.S. and Canadian crop, and non-crop inputs business to Apollo Management, L.P. Included in this sale were the non-crop distribution businesses of United Horticultural Supply, UAP Timberland and York Distributors, which serve the professional structural pest control, turf and ornamental, and vegetation management/forestry industries.

UAP, headquartered in Greeley, Colo., had annual sales of about $2.5 billion during its last fiscal year, primarily from the distribution of crop protection chemicals, fertilizer, seed and other non-crop products throughout the North American market.

Apollo, an investment company, is headquartered in New York.

"United Agri Products is strongly positioned in to continue its record of growth, increasing profitability and world-class service to its customers," said Kenny Cordell, UAP chief executive officer.

"The sale of UAP will not have a negative impact on our non-crop segments," said director of business development and marketing, Curtis Clark.

The ownership change will not affect current organizational or logistical structure, the company said. The company also pointed out that it has targeted non-crop as a portion of their business it hopes to expand. It acquired York Distributors in May of this year and has been endeavoring to capitalize on the similar focus of its three non-crop distribution companies. (To see some of the new faces at the company, see page 105.)


NYSPMA HELPS CLEAN UP AS APPLICATORS TURN IN PESTICIDES


NEW YORK, N.Y. — Over a two-day collection period, the New York State Pest Management Association enabled certified applicators to turn in more than 40,000 pounds of unregistered and unusable pesticides. The joint "Clean Sweep" program was conducted by NYSPMA in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

"I watched as materials that haven’t been used in years, like Chlordane and Vaponite 2E in glass jugs, were turned in for safe disposal," said NYSPMA President Gil Bloom.

By participating in the October program, applicators were able to legally dispose of unusable and potentially hazardous materials and aid in the prevention of any future mishaps, exposures or regulatory actions. The program was unique in that it was specifically geared to certified applicators and registered businesses only, the association says.


TURF MARKET RESEARCH STUDY UNDERWAY

MENDHAM, N.J. — Specialty Products Consultants, LLC (SPC) has undertaken a benchmark study of the turf market in the United States. Almost 900 lawn care operators and golf course superintendents will be surveyed over the next few months.

The study will investigate attitudes, awareness, usage and satisfaction of turf pesticides used in residential and commercial lawn care, and on golf courses. "Our primary goal is to provide an accurate assessment of the market size for leading insecticides, fungicides and selected herbicides," explained Gary Curl, president of SPC. "Additionally, we will measure market share of the leading formulators and distributors of turf products."

Among the many objectives of this comprehensive market research study will be an evaluation of end-users’ attitudes toward generic pesticide product offerings.

Specialty Products Consultants is a market research and business development consultancy dedicated exclusively to the specialty pesticide industry.


BASF LAUNCHES ‘WELCOME TO BETTER’ AT PESTWORLD 2003


RALEIGH, N.C. — BASF Professional Pest Control in October launched its new "Welcome to Better" campaign. The program, which includes a redesigned corporate image, marketing and sales materials, new programs for PCOs, and a revamped Web site, is dedicated to providing partners with complete solutions for their pest management needs, through better products, better support and better marketing, the company says.

"‘Welcome to Better Pest Control’ is a multi-faceted approach toward better pest management," said Bill Baxter, business manager for BASF Professional Pest Control.

Highlights of the launch included:

The company launched "Inside-Out," an ant and cockroach control program that recognizes and uses nonrepellent insecticides. The Inside-Out Program offers control of ants and cockroaches with Termidor for nonrepellent ant control outside and Phantom for nonrepellent ant and cockroach control inside.

PestControlFacts.com, BASF Professional Pest Control’s home on the Web, has been relaunched with a new design for easier browsing. BASF also has refocused its efforts on Phantom.

BASF will place a high priority on educating pest management professionals and homeowners about its new philosophy. With a national consumer media program in the works for 2004, BASF has made homeowner education and awareness a key component of its "Welcome to Better Pest Control" strategy.

For more information, call 877/837-6436 or visit www.pestcontrolfacts.com.


EPA HONORS MASSEY SERVICES FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR

ORLANDO, FLA. — The United States Environmental Protection Agency has named Massey Services a Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) "Champion" for 2003. It’s the second time in two years that the suburban Orlando-based pest prevention, termite protection and lawn, tree and shrub care company has been so honored.

"We are absolutely delighted that the EPA has, for the second consecutive year, recognized the outstanding work being done by our quality assurance team, as well as our service managers, technicians and specialists in the field," said Harvey L. Massey, president/CEO of Massey Services.

The citation from the Environmental Protection Agency singled out Massey Services, the only residential and commercial pest management company selected, along with 15 other honorees for "…their extraordinary level of commitment to protecting human health and the environment."

BAYER: HIGHER PROFITS WITH PREMISE; FLY BAIT REGISTERED IN CALIF.

MONTVALE, N.J. — Bayer Environmental Science will cover 100% of labor and product costs associated with the retreat-ment of structures registered for the Premise Guarantee program, the company recently announced. In addition, Bayer ES challenges participating pest management professionals to track retreats for one year with the Premise Challenge. If the retreats are greater than one percent, Bayer will pay $50 per additional treatment.

This initiative comes after a study of Premise efficacy finished in 2003. In more than 11,000 treatments surveyed, Premise had less than 1% retreats in all construction types, application methods, soil types, and termite species, according to the company.

"We believe that with Premise, there is no technical or business reason to buy any other product," said Chuck Cole, marketing manager, Premise, Bayer Environmental Science.

"We have the utmost confidence in Premise," said Steve Burt, vice president, Pest Management Business USA, Bayer Environmental Science. "Premise is a proven product, with eight solid years of real-world data. The Premise Guarantee reinforces our commitment to business partnerships within the pest control industry."

For additional information, visit www.premiseguarantee.com or call 800/331-2867.

In other news at Bayer ES, the company has announced that Maxforce Granular Fly Bait is now registered for use in California. Available through authorized distributors nationwide, Maxforce Granular Fly Bait contains imidacloprid, a non-repellent active ingredient that offers no resistance. Maxforce Granular Fly Bait also contains a pheromone attractant, a patented food attractant, and Bitrex bittering agent to help prevent accidental ingestion by non-target animals.


DOW AGROSCIENCES ANNOUNCES FORD MUSTANG GT "SPEEDSTAKES"

DALLAS — Dow AgroSciences LLC announced from PestWorld 2003 the official launch of the Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System "Speed-stakes," a contest offering pest management professionals the opportunity to win a Ford Mustang GT. The Mustang was on display at Dow AgroSciences’ booth throughout PestWorld.

According to Mark Neterer, national commercial manager for Dow AgroSciences, the "Speedstakes" grand prize — a Ford Mustang — represents characteristics of the Sentricon System with new Recruit III termite bait.

"Both Recruit III and the Mustang offer instant acceleration, greater power, broken speed records and thrilled Authorized Operators," says Neterer. "The ‘Speedstakes’ is an attention-grabbing way to continue the excitement that has been generated by the introduction of Recruit III and extend the ‘buzz’ now that people are seeing the positive results out in the marketplace."

The "Speedstakes" contest will run through the spring of 2004, and the winner will be awarded the Mustang at the Indianapolis Brickyard 400 on Aug. 8, 2004. Two runners-up will be awarded two roundtrip airline tickets, hotel accommodations and tickets to the Indianapolis Brickyard 400.


NEW WEEDMAN FRANCHISES IN

UNITED STATES

SCARBOROUGH, ONTARIO — Turf Holdings, the Canadian/U.S. franchiser of Weed Man, recently announced the sale of seven franchises and one sub-franchise in the United States. The company now has 72 American franchises and 13 sub-franchises.

The new franchises were sold to David DeVisser and Jan Post, Kalamazoo, Mich.; Scott Ford and Bill Yager, Dallas, Texas; Tino Chiola, Pallisades Park, N.J.; Martin Hoover and Tommy Baker, Flower Mound, Texas; Sam and Brandi Morgan, Charlotte, N.C.; and Ron Stewart, Annapolis, Md.

David Pitchford, owner of Baton Rouge Lawn Pro in Baton Rouge, La., bought the Weed Man sub-franchising rights to Northern Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. There are three sub-franchise territories still available.


UPMA SHOW SPECIALS EXTENDED 60 DAYS

CHESHIRE, CONN. — UPMA Labs has extended its "show specials" on its Advanced IPMM kits and microscopes until Dec. 30. With the advanced inspection, collection/identification kit, pest management professionals can inspect, collect, identify pests on site and communicate the results to customers within minutes. The digital photo microscopy system allows the user to capture images for identification, training and communication using a microscope and a minivid camera.

For more information, call 866/270-0111 or visit www.upmalabs.com.


SCIENTISTS, ENTOMOLOGISTS GATHER FOR ECOSMART MEETING

FRANKLIN, TENN. — EcoSMART Technologies recently held a meeting with members of its Scientific Advisory Panel at its corporate office in Franklin, Tenn., on Oct. 30 and 31. Members of the Scientific Advisory Panel are leading entomologists, toxicologists, chemists and formulators in North America. The panel includes: Rod Bradbury, president, EcoSafe Natural Products, Vancouver, Canada; Joel Coats, Ph.D., professor of entomology and toxicology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; Harlan Feese, Ph.D., technical director: commercial division, EcoSMART Technologies; Ramon Georgis, Ph.D., president, AgroSci Advanced Agricultural Technologies, Elmhurst, Ill.; Murray Isman, Ph.D., professor of entomology and toxicology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; David Lindsay, Ph.D., vice president - operations, EcoSMART Technologies; Andrew Kende, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and oncology, University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y.; and Donald Reierson, M.A., researcher, department of entomology, University of California - Riverside, Riverside, Calif.

The Scientific Advisory Panel is closely involved in the research and development of products, technology and patent strategy for EcoSMART. The company is in contact with the members of the Scientific Advisory Panel with respect to ongoing research efforts.

In addition, the Scientific Advisory Panel meets face-to-face on an as needed basis, typically every quarter. "Eco-SMART has enjoyed its long relationship with members of the panel and we look forward to working with them to bring innovative technologies to the market," said Steve Bessette, president of EcoSMART.

For more information, contact EcoSMART at 888/326-7233 or visit www.ecosmart.com.